SOP 09 Radio procedures

Radio Checks for Buddies and Safety Boat Operators

The radio (walkie talkie) system is always manned during sailing sessions with the ‘Shore-master’ as the main shore-based contact.   No boats are to be taken on the water without the buddy / solo sailors taking a radio with them and having carried out a radio check before going afloat.  If a buddy or solo sailor fails to take a radio and launches, then they must immediately return to shore to collect a radio.

Radio Procedures

Radio users are required to carry out a series of practice calls annually in March/April each year and then use these procedures during normal duties throughout the year.

The first action is to establish contact…………

  1. You calling shore…………..(assumes your boat number is 286)

“Shore-Shore 286 message; over” – repeat if no response (note the repeated “Shore-Shore” to help getting attention)

  1. Shore response…………….

“286 from Shore go ahead; over” – repeat if no response

With contact now established the conversation can continue…….

  1. “Shore from 286, the client would like to come in; over”
  1. “286 from shore, OK, come in when ready; out”

If the buddy definitely wishes to come in due to problems then the call is…

  1. “Shore-Shore from 286 we are coming in now!; over”

Emergency calls

 If the caller has an urgent request for help…… 

  1. “Shore-Shore urgent message 286; over”


  1. Do not transmit when someone else is transmitting.
  2. Wait say 0.5 seconds after pressing the transmit button before speaking or else your first words may not get transmitted.
  3. At the end of your call use “over” when expecting a reply and “out” when ending the call.
  4. Maintain radio silence during incidents unless called.

Radio Operation

The radio uses 1 of 8 channels that can also be used by the general public.  Remember even though you cannot hear them, they may well be able to hear you.  Peterborough Sailability operates on channel setting 6.10. (channel 6 = 446.06875 MHz and tone 10 = 94.8 Hz)

When using the radio make sure you secure it safely to your buoyancy aid or similar, secure it where you can hear it and access the volume control & transmit buttons.

Radio Duties

Shore-Master;           The Shore-master must ensure that they are fully aware of the status of all boats, buddies, crewed clients, and solo sailors at all times.  The Shore-master must listen, acknowledge, and always manage all radio traffic.  If the Shore-master does not respond to a call then the radio traffic must be brought to the Shore-master’s attention.  They must only be one Shore-master at any one time.  If there is a Shore-master change-over all information and the status of all people within the Shore-masters control must be conveyed to the new Shore-master.  The Shore-master may also use the radio to manage boat movements on the shore and direct shore-crew when required. 

Sailors / Shore-crew

All buddies, solo sailors and shore-crew must listen out for all radio traffic in order to respond to messages radioed to them or to help others to respond.  This may occur if a boat is at the extremities of the lake and is on the verge of radio range, the radio has low batteries or subject to obstructions (land, buildings, rain, etc.)

Safety Boat

The duty Safety Boat driver must listen out for all radio traffic in order to respond to messages radioed to them or to help others to respond.

Calling the Safety Boat

The Shore Master is the person who calls and manages Safety Boat activities.  The Safety Boat crew may respond to a Safety Boat call from a buddy’s radio message, but it is still the Shore-master who manages the incident. In the event of a safety boat drill being planned, then the duty Safety Boat skipper must liaise and agree with the Shore-master that the drill can take place.

Faulty Radio

If you suspect a radio is faulty then please hand it to the sailing control office, explaining the problems you had.  Do not return a faulty radio without informing the sailing control office. All radios need to be serviceable.

If you drop a radio in the water then retrieve it if you safely can, remove the batteries, shake out any water and hand to the sailing control office. In the event of a problem and a non-working radio, wave arms to attract attention.

This copyright information compiled by Peterborough Sailability ©

SOP 09; Radio Procedures Version 03 ~ 5 April 2023